About the HSP
Founded in 1989, the Hispanic Summer Program seeks to shape the next generation of Latinx theological and academic leaders. Through our distinct programming, we work to shift the discourse on Latinidad in theology, in higher education, and within the active ministries and communities led by our alumni and touched by our faculty. We do this by raising up a uniquely Latinx perspective, lifting up the often unheeded views of the Latinx community, and centering the conversation with distinctly Latinx voices.
In our 30+ year history, the HSP has taught over 1,800 seminarians and graduate students of religion, provided training for over 150 non-Latinx faculty and administrators, and contributed to the development of countless Latinx clergy, community organizers, and faculty. We have significantly expanded and enriched the theological education being offered at seminaries and universities across the country with academic courses and high-level programs that directly address Latinx history, ministry, and theology. Our goal is nothing less than to create a new future for the Latinx community by shaping a new vision for its Latinx leadership.
Mission and Vision
What the Hispanic Summer Program set out to achieve from its inception in 1989 was to supplement and enrich the theological and ministerial education being offered in seminaries and universities, with academic courses and other programs directly addressing Latinx history, ministry, and theology. As an ecumenical program, it seeks to heal the divisions in the Latinx community fueled by denominational and theological differences. As a Latinx program, the HSP tries to find ways to restore connections and build bridges between Latinx and non-Latinx communities, among others, by enhancing the awareness and appreciation that non-Latinx scholars, ministers, and administrators have of Latinx contributions to the past, present, and future of our religious institutions and our nation. Accordingly, the HSP strives to achieve these objectives:
- To create Latinx-centered educational experience in theology and religion primarily, but by no means exclusively, for Latinx students from seminaries, universities, and other programs of higher education where there is a dearth of Latinx faculty.
- To influence the system of theological education in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, so that it finds new ways of both benefiting from, and responding to, the opportunities offered by the burgeoning Latinx community, by its scholars, ministers, and leaders.
- To create spaces for the theological and ministerial education of Latinx women in particular, and of minority students in general.
- To promote ecumenical and inter-religious understanding and collaboration among current and future Latinx leaders of different denominational, theological, and faith traditions – as well as between Latinx and non-Latinx students, faculty, ministers, and administrators in religious institutions, churches, and in academia.
Our flagship HSP Summer Session was born, and continues to thrive, with certain traits that have been considered essential from the outset:
- It must be academically sound. Every summer session’s credits are awarded by an ATS-accredited institution. The student body is composed primarily of regularly enrolled students in ATS-accredited institutions (in Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, and other programs), although there are always a number of participants pursuing continuing education or Ph.D. students who desire an opportunity to work with a particular professor. Our faculty must meet the highest academic standards. All faculty members of the Hispanic Summer Program are either currently teaching in accredited seminaries or universities, or are fully qualified to do so. The host institution gives academic credits for the courses and these credits are transferred to the institution in which each student is enrolled.
- The program must be gender-inclusive in both its faculty and student body. The HSP seeks to provide educational spaces that recognize and support the work done by people of all genders and sexual orientations. This is reflected in the faculty hired, the topics of courses taught, as well as the faculty support provided to all our students.
- It must be ecumenical and inter-religious. The Hispanic Summer Program has always had a significant number of students from all Christian denominational families: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Evangelicals, and Pentecostals. Increasingly, we have also served students who are Muslim, Buddhist, non-religious, and part of African diasporic traditions including Lucumí. We strive to honor this diversity not only through our recruitment and admission process, but also by carefully hiring a denominationally and religiously diverse faculty, rotating annually the program among host institutions of different faith traditions, building a theologically varied curriculum, and shaping worship experiences which foment respect for, and dialogue among, our different traditions.
- It must be itinerant, not tying itself to any single region of the U.S., or to any particular Latinx community. Thus, the HSP travels each year to a different place in the U.S. and subsidizes most students’ travel.
- It should promote an intercultural Hispanic pedagogy among the students, faculty, and administrators of the program, which serves as both a model and a motivation for our religious institutions, churches, and the academy.
In addition to our flagship program, which launched the HSP in 1989, the Hispanic Summer Program advances its mission through:
- Through Hispanic Eyes: A workshop for non-Latinx faculty and higher education staff and administrators seeking to equip themselves on how to better serve Latinx and students of color at their institutions.
- The Latinx Discernment Workshop: A program for Masters level Latinx students who wish to intentionally reflect upon their vocation and what lays ahead for them after graduation.
- HSP Exchange: A speaker series that invites individuals from across the country to learn with our brilliant HSP Faculty and Alums on pressing issues pertinent to the Latinx community.
- HSP Pedagogy Workshop: A gathering of HSP faculty which provides tools and resources on teaching graduate level intensive courses which center the pedagogical styles birthed from the Latinx theological tradition in the United States and Latinx America.
- HSP Regional Workshops [coming soon]: Regional workshops held across the country on issues affecting the Latinx community led by local Latinx leaders.
These new programmatic offerings represent the ways the HSP has grown and developed over the last 30 years in a way that is responsive to the needs of Latinx religious communities in the United States. Our mission in these programs, as in our flagship program, remains clear: to shape the next generation of Latinx theological and academic leaders and tangibly pour into our Latinx community. We look forward to many more decades of fulfilling this mission, latinamente.